Smouldering velvety gravy shimmering over perfectly cooked juicy pieces of meat with soft chapattis or parathas in a 92-year-old eatery amidst the hustle and bustle of the Shyambazar five-point crossing in north Kolkata – nothing can possibly beat this perfect mix for a true foodie.
Welcome to the fabled Golbari restaurant that has made its mouth-watering signature dish – spicy Bengali mutton curry aka Kosha Mangsho – a hot favourite among locals and tourists alike.
For chicken lovers, there is chicken Kosha on the menu.
“We want to maintain the tradition that Golbari is famous for. We do not wish to change the original menu,” the eatery’s owner, Kishan Arora, told IANS.
Thus, Golbari and Kosha Mangsho are almost synonymous for food lovers.
“These two dishes are always in demand, particularly during weekends,” Arora added.
Originally named New Punjabi Restaurant, the eatery is popularly called Golbari because of the semi-circular facade of the building – started not by a Bengali but by a Punjabi, Kishan Arora’s father Ratan Arora, 92 years ago.
With no major changes in the interiors, the restaurant has an old-world rustic charm. The cozy place can accommodate up to 18 diners at a time. One can also eat standing at the counters or get the food packed and take it home.
For 30-year-old Kaustav Karak, a resident of Shyambazar, a weekend outing is not complete without a visit to Golbari.
“I have grown up eating the delicacies there. Their style of cooking makes the dishes stand out in comparison to other restaurants,” Karak told IANS.
What enables the huge response to Golbari is its affordable pricing.
A sumptuous, filling plate of mutton Kosha comes at a pocket-friendly price of Rs.150 with four pieces and is adequate for two people. One large piece of chicken Kosha comes for Rs.110.
Other popular items on the menu include fish fry, chicken cutlet and egg cutlet.
A branch on Ripon Street has a multi-cuisine menu but the orignal is far more popular.
For Kolkata-based food blogger and photographer Samya Brata, Golbari is another name for heaven when it comes to traditional home-cooked chicken or mutton.
“I love the spicy gravy and the oil that floats over it,” Brata told IANS with a smile.
Is the mushrooming of fast food chains in the neighbourhood a threat to Golbari?
“Golbari Kosha Mangsho will stand where it is now. These fast food joints will come and go. Teenagers may prefer fast food, but they will never get the taste of good old Mangsho and roti anywhere else,” Kishan Arora quickly responded.
So if you are in Kolkata, take time out for a trip to Golbari and feast on those lip-smacking pieces of meat floating in oily red gravy. You won’t regret it.
Meal for two: Rs 400.